Claire Hart didn’t so much wish she were a babe as she wished she could be somebody’s baby, but she was sure that would never happen. The high school freshman was a plain, shy girl of medium height with a medium build who dressed in loose-fitting clothes and wore minimal makeup. She was glad that the raging acne and greasy hair of her early teenage years were now under control, but what she saw in the mirror still left Claire photo-allergic.
Claire had nobody that she considered a real friend. Ruth Andrews was nice enough, but she wasn’t someone that Claire could talk to about her thoughts on the supernatural world. Ruth was a good Catholic girl and thought that such matters were best left unspoken. Helvey Gray was a funny guy who brightened Claire’s spirits with his goofy jokes, but Claire certainly couldn’t imagine discussing the unseen world with him.
Charmaine Chaplin was so pretty that it made a hopelessly homely young woman like Claire physically ill to look at her, but she was a sweetheart even if Claire sometimes thought that Charmaine had let her brain atrophy because she never had to use it. Charmaine’s cousin Dorothy Lombardo was a big girl with sad eyes like a basset hound who may have envied Charmaine’s beauty as much as Claire did, but who had a dogged devotion to her effortlessly beautiful cousin whose naiveite sometimes left her in compromising situations from which she required rescue.
Claire supposed that it would have been all right to have pleasant companions who had no desire to look too hard at the world beyond the walls of sleep if it hadn’t been for the unpleasant individuals with whom she was forced to share her life. There seemed to be far more bad actors than well-behaved students at good old St. Charles Catholic Preparatory Academy.
Valentino Valley was a stuck-up jerk in theatre group. Claire developed a crush on him because he was initially nice to her, but when he discovered that he was carrying a torch for him, he turned nasty. Claire surmised that Val was probably being nice to Charmaine in hopes of getting in her form-fitting jeans and Claire was simply a secondary recipient of his fake friendliness.
Val’s butt buddy Guy Frank was a non-entity when he wasn’t around Val. Guy’s given name was a perfect fit, as he was That Guy who blended easily into a crowd. If he’d had the inclination, Guy would have been the perfect criminal mastermind because he had such a nondescript appearance that it would have been difficult to describe him. Helvey once said that Guy looked like a forty-year-old car salesman.
Helvey also said that Guy looked like a frog and Val looked like a pompous prince. Claire and Helvey giggled while drawing a cartoon featuring Pompous Prince Pompadour of Buttland and his sidekick, Frankie the Frog.489 Words
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